Scientists reveal three-dimensional molecular map of Coronavirus
US scientists have published in the journal “Science” the first triple molecular map of a section of the emerging coronavirus (Covid-19) responsible for infecting human cells, an important step that may contribute to developing appropriate treatments and vaccines to counter the virus. The team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and the National Institutes of Health used the technique “Deep Electron Microscopy” (Nobel Laureate in Chemistry in 2017) to model a portion of the virus that attaches to human cells.
The scientist Jason McClellan, who led the study, explained to France Press how it was prepared.
McClellan has been studying with his team for years many other viruses of the same strain, particularly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and respiratory syndrome in the Middle East.
The researchers were able to produce a stable version of the virus in the laboratory. Their molecular structural is now available to researchers around the world.
Virus scientist Benjamin Newman at the University of “Texas A&M Texarkana” commented that “it is a clear structure of one of the most important proteins of the Coronavirus, and it will help in understanding how the virus is discovered and penetrated.”
This discovery is expected to help researchers understand how to hide the epidemic and quell its activity by providing possible prescriptions for antivirals for infected people and vaccines.
Easier spread Meanwhile, Chinese scientists who studied the nose and throat samples of 18 patients infected with the emerging coronavirus said that the virus behaves more like influenza-like other highly related viruses, indicating that it may spread more easily than expected.
In at least one case, the virus was present despite the absence of any symptoms for the patient, which confirms fears that patients who do not have symptoms may also spread the disease.
Although these results, published by the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, are preliminary, they provide new evidence that this emerging virus that has killed more than 2,000 people, mostly in China, is not the same as the rest of the strains of the Coronavirus.
In contrast to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that causes an infection in the lower respiratory tract that may lead to pneumonia, the emerging Coronavirus (Covid-19) appears to infect the upper and lower respiratory tract, and this not only makes it able to cause inflammation Acute pulmonary and even to spread easily, such as influenza or colds.
“What this clearly says is that this virus may be transmitted from the upper respiratory tract and may be transmitted by people without symptoms,” Dr. Gregory Polland, a virology and vaccine research expert, said in the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who was not involved in the study.
The researchers said their findings add new evidence to reports that indicated the virus could be transmitted at an early stage of infection, and they stated that controlling the virus would need a different method from that which has been shown to be effective in combating SARS and that relied primarily on combating its spread in hospitals.
A report published by the French newspaper Le Figaro earlier mentioned the analysis that was conducted from the files of 1099 patients, and the analysis revealed several troubling surprises.
The analysis was written under the supervision of Professor Nan Shanzhong, who was appointed by Beijing at the head of a group of experts to study the new coronary virus epidemic, which was officially designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) -19.
The first bad surprise The newspaper said that the first surprise is that what experts have approved so far that the agreed incubation period does not exceed 14 days is a maximum is not absolute, because Chinese experts have found that it may reach 24 days, and if this delay is confirmed between a person’s infection and the appearance of the first symptoms, Therefore, this means that the quarantine period must be imposed for a period of 24 days instead of the current 14 days.
The second bad surprise The newspaper said that the second unpleasant surprise is that infected people may not necessarily have a fever, in addition to that one in three patients, did not have a cough either. This means that a person may carry the virus and transmit it, although he does not show the disease.
The third bad surprise The third surprise, which does not seem pleasant, is the other – according to the newspaper – is the fact that the virus Covid 19 is found in the feces of patients, which poses a big problem, especially for countries where the sewage system is not in the best shape.
Chinese experts conducted a pilot study on 62 patients and found a virus in the stool of four of them, 6.5%, which is sufficient to promote hygiene measures in the community.
Source: Websites, Le Figaro, French, Reuters